PI: Nicole Rodriguez, PhD
Project Title: Behavior Analysis with Hispanic Families
Grant Agency: University Support
This research is designed to benefit an underserved population in Nebraska, namely children with autism and related disorders whose parents have Spanish as their primary language. We currently have a variety of effective behavioral procedures for reducing repetitive and destructive behavior and replacing it with appropriate prosocial skills in children with autism. However, the effectiveness of these procedures is greatly lessened when parents do not understand the treatment procedures or they have not been trained to implement them with appropriate integrity, a problem that disproportionately affects individuals for whom English is a second language. Preliminary studies using controlled, single-case designs will be used to demonstrate (as proof of concept) that translating parent training modules and protocols, along with providing in-vivo parent training in the parent's first language, will produce better outcomes for children with autism (e.g., reduced problem behavior, increased prosocial skills) and their families (e.g., improved behavior management, reduced parental stress).
This project should have strong sustainability in that the expanded clinical services that will be provided to Spanish speaking families. The preliminary studies will form the basis of an R-01 grant to study barriers to effective treatment in minority families affected by autism. This clinical research program could potentially serve as a model for other underserved populations.